I wasn't invited to Bear's memorial. And honestly, there is absolutely no reason I should have been. Nobody in the Dead Family ever knew that we knew each other,that he & Sheilah & I shared the same ballet & modern dance classes for several years at College of Marin. When I left the Dead community in the early 90s it was a complete cut-off, I cut my ties with pretty much everything, and everybody involved with the Dead, for my own peace of heart; it is very very difficult to voluntarily give pu the one thing you loved more in life than Anything Else (and still do), but I had to. I was acting like an addict and it had to end.
So why should I have been invited? I was just that girl dancing backstage. And I left for 20 years.
In the past 2 days I mentioned to 2 different Facebook friends that I wish I could have gone to Bear's memorial. Granted these are both people who do not know me IRL, have no History with me and don't have any clue about my issues with the Dead, Deadheads and why I had to leave. But I was absolutely astonished when both of them told me I should have just gone.
Just go find and crash a funeral. Like it was a party. I think not.
There are two reasons I was allowed to do what I did at Dead shows. The first of course is I *am*, in all humility, a hella good dancer and People Who Counted, usually Dennis McNally, would allow me to come backstage and dance where I had Space. Sometimes I even got a backstage pass.
The second is because I Absolutely Respected that Space and that Privilege. "Don't go near the Dressing Rooms", well, that was pretty easy. You can't hear the music in the dressing rooms in the first place, so why do I want to go there? ( once I had to explain , in detail, to Phil's driver why I had no interest in going outside and sitting in the limo.) Don't bother anybody. Well, that's a pretty ambiguous request but it translates to "Don't go begging band members to let you on the stage". Um, right.
In point of fact, every privilege I ever earned at the Dead was probably because I did not approach Important People and ask them for stuff, they approached me and offered. I gotta say it was pretty mind-blowing to have Important people call me up and tell me I had a ticket or a pass at will-call. And they did that because I was respectful enough of them not to get in their faces. And once in a while a Miracle would happen and I even got to put my feet on the stage once because I never tried to get there on my own.
So I was pretty put out that people would suggest that I crash Bear's memorial simply because it was local. And this is one of the big reasons I left the Dead in the first place, this odd sense of Deadhead Entitlement. Because its happening they should let us in because its all about freedom and sharing. Not. I'm not the kind of Deadhead who pitches a tent on somebody's lawn without permission. I'm not the kind of Deadhead who goes to the buffet in Las Vegas and hands plates full of food out to my friends outside the buffet. I'm not the kind of Deadhead who crawls through ventilation ducts into Jerry's dressing room.
I only go where I am invited. And at my Very Last Show, I was invited into a dressing room. And it was an honor when Dennis looked around the room and said, holy shit, every single person in this room is a Writer, and he said that with a capital W, too.
And then I Left.
Who knows how different my life might have been if, on that night in 1978 in Roslyn Longuyland, I had accepted that invitation into Bear's hotel room. But I didn't, and that's why I didn't, and wouldn't, have crashed his wake.
On Sunday I'm going to Ron Patterson's Memorial. I was invited, along with several thousand other close family friends. There will be music and as a member of the Danse Macabre it is my duty and privilege to Dance people into the Heaven of their Choice. I will Danse for Ron. I will Danse for Bear. I will Danse for Liz Taylor. I will Danse for Japan.
And that is Right and Proper.